The 2018 Taiwan Muslim Youth Exchange Camp for Southeast Asian Countries wrapped up July 28 in Taipei City, offering 40 young people from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore a deeper understanding of the nation’s economic, political and social development.
Organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the annual event is aimed at cultivating people-to-people exchanges with young Muslim professionals in line with the New Southbound Policy. This year’s weeklong camp comprised lectures, meetings with officials and tours of cultural sites to spotlight Taiwan’s foreign affairs, Muslim-friendly policies and tourism sector.
The lectures addressed issues such as the government’s steadfast diplomacy approach and the NSP; folk cultures and traditions; and facilities and support for Muslim residents. Discussions also highlighted the nation’s progress in fostering a Muslim-friendly travel environment through measures like promoting halal certification at hotels and restaurants, according to the MOFA.
As a result of such efforts, Taiwan achieved its highest-ever ranking as the fifth most Muslim-friendly destination among non-Muslim countries in the latest Global Muslim Travel Index released April 11 by MasterCard Inc. and CrescentRating.
Also on the itinerary for camp participants were popular travel destinations in southern Taiwan including Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area and Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park in Pingtung County, as well as Pier-2 Art Center and Meinung Folk Village in Kaohsiung City. In addition, attendees met with new immigrants and migrant workers and visited mosques in Taipei and Kaohsiung.
The Muslim youth exchange camp was launched by the MOFA in 2017 under the NSP. A key plank in the government’s national development strategy, the policy seeks to enhance Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, education, tourism and trade ties with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand. (KWS-E)
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